12 citizens send letter urging LP school officials to require masks

 

WNLP editor’s note: The letter of opinion below, sent to La Porte Community School Corporation Superintendent Mark Francesconi and La Porte School Board members on Aug. 3, 2021, was also sent to WNLP.  

Dear Superintendent Francesconi and School Trustees:

We write to you as a collective group of individuals in the community concerned about the recent decision to make facial coverings optional for the upcoming school year.

As you are aware, the CDC and the state health department are recommending facial coverings for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Despite this guidance, the Corporation has failed to follow the recommendations in the recent decisions made on Aug. 3.

The Corporation has and continues to pride itself on following science and safety measures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, this new guidance is disappointing and irresponsible. Students under the age of 12 are unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The only way to protect them is if they and those around them were a mask. By making this optional, they are much greater to get sick, and it could be a serious illness.

The Superintendent seems to be trying to be the middleman by making everything optional. However, this will have real and serious consequences. If he does not want the blame on him, he should follow the CDC guidance as the logic, so the blame goes to them. The current decision puts the blame right on the Superintendent. Michigan City Area Schools (MCAS), South Bend Community School Corporation, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and many more school corporations are requiring facial coverings for all students and staff. At this time, we do not know what the logic behind the Superintendent’s decision is — but we know health guidance did not play a role.

We should not treat COVID-19 lightly. With the new Delta variant, we need to keep staff and students safe. The school can do in-person instruction, and most families want that for their children. But they also want their children to be safe.

Also, allowing the water fountains to be open poses a risk of getting COVID-19. The new recommendations from your office re-opens this. The plan the Corporation currently has shown is as if there is no more COVID-19 in the county and things are back to normal. However, this is not the case. Schools across the country have tried going optional and have led to big outbreaks and consequences. We know that will happen if the current plans remain in effect. We do not want an outbreak due to the Superintendent not following the guidance from health agencies.

We urge Superintendent Francesconi and School Trustees to reverse course and follow the science. We ask that the recommendations set forth on Aug. 3 be repealed to follow guidance from the CDC and the state health department. Our kids need to be safe.

Respectfully,

Leo Cavinder

Nichole Hamby                                              

Valerie Rogers, BA, ASN, RN

Noelle Vann, RN

Jane Cunningham                                           

Rachel Clowers-Gaze

Lori Schroeder-Cusick

Sacha Gee Burns

Judy Grott

Jeff Miller

Angie Schliephake

Rita Boklund Bayer

49 Responses to “12 citizens send letter urging LP school officials to require masks”

  1. Freedom

    Aug 04. 2021

    Let those parents have their kids wear masks and let the other parents decide for their own kids whether or not they’ll wear masks. Leave it alone.

    No one is going to stop the listed people from having their children wear masks if they wish.

    Reply to this comment
    • Choice

      Aug 04. 2021

      The CDC has contradicted itself many times over covid so what are we really to believe. I believe that we humans are smart enough to use our critical thinking skills and form our own decisions. Please don’t be mindless lemmings and just follow.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Keep our Students Safe!

    Aug 04. 2021

    I 1000% percent agree with this letter! The CDC states: — CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. We must do all we can to keep the kids safe and this is the bare minimum: wear a mask!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Tim

    Aug 04. 2021

    Well said. Hopefully, the “powers that be” are listening.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Julie

    Aug 04. 2021

    I support his decision and if other parents don’t then they can choose to homeschool their kids or switch schools to a school that does require masks. Many other parents had to make that decision last year that didn’t want their children masked last year, such as myself. I put my children in a private school with no masks and full time school for 2020-2021 and guess what? No outbreaks and kids went all year unmasked. If a parent doesn’t like his decision than take your kids elsewhere like I had to do but I support his decision this year. If you want to send your kid in a hazmat suit to protect them, go ahead. It is funny that this is how some parents feel yet they still have their kids doing wrestling unmasked and basketball and whatever other sport but somehow when in the classroom they have to be masked to learn. Well I am so glad I made the switch out of public schools for this reason. My children are learning things that wouldn’t have and don’t have to sit at a desk or gym with masks. Yes, I can’t believe that La Porte was even making kids wear masks in gym, even outside but as soon as the school bell rang and it was sports practice the masks were off. What hypocritical thinking. Also, we were able to have 4th of July parade and the fair with masks optional but suddenly these parents want to mask up their kids in school. I support your decision superintendent Francesconi but you will get blamed for any outbreak so stand your ground because there will be an outbreak no matter if you require masks or not because people love getting tested. You know when the pandemic will be over, when people stop getting tested. The survivability rate for kids with covid is near 100 percent so why are we acting like this? One of the highest causes of death for children is motor vehicle accidents but we still drive them around in a car all the time, knowing the risk. I could go on and on but bottom line is that I support freedom of choice and letting parents make decisions for their children, not the schools making those decisions.

    Sincerely,
    Julie

    Reply to this comment
    • tired of it all

      Aug 04. 2021

      Maybe if your so afraid you should home school your children! Or change schools. It works both ways.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Tax Man

    Aug 04. 2021

    Parents can choose whether to have or not have their children wear masks – seems fair to all. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth properly when sneezing or coughing, and don’t touch your face with your fingers or put them up your nose and we’ll all get through this. Hopefully the regular yearly flu won’t be worse than the covid-19.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Standing up

    Aug 04. 2021

    Of course the school bd. and supt. will give in to a very small minority, as happens with everything else in this world.

    Reply to this comment
  7. John

    Aug 04. 2021

    Yep, Standing up, the minority always rules here. I agree with Freedom and do not think the students should be masked. This prevents them from observing facial clues and interferes with the learning of how to socialize. Just because the CDC recommends does not make it a mandate. Let us have freedom of choice here.

    Reply to this comment
    • Nick

      Aug 04. 2021

      Stop getting tested and the pandemic will end? What? Tests dont cause transmission, they only identify the infected, so that the spread can be muted. Talking about vehicle accidents killing children, and how we all still drive them around with children. Yes, we have car seats and seat belt laws and safety standards. Because they are proven to limit deaths and severity of injuries. Much like vaccinnes and masks! So yes, you can support your freedom of choice to not vaccinate or mask your child. But what decent parent would ever choose to add risk of death or severe illness to everyone’s children, including their own, when the trade-off is the simple tasks of wearing a mask and getting a vaccine. Wearing a mask is a marginal discomfort at most, and if even one or two children avoid the ICU because of it, then it should have been an easy decision for the school board (apparently its not, and is a hard political decision full of wrong answers). You know what would have prevented a mask mandate? If half the population descerned who experts are and interpret basic data, instead of listening to conspiracy theorists hellbent on splitting society in two, for their own selfish reasons. And yes, there will likely be an outbreak at schools either way. Schools are overcrowded, with bad ventilation, and close contacts, and lack of access to vaccinations. Which is why masks are essential and why everyone needs to get vaccinated. I cannot believe the ineptitude and selfishness of so many in this town, in this state, in this country. Nobody wants to wear masks or get extra jabs, or not be able to go to bars/concerts/parties/etc. But because 40% of you are overgrown uneducated petulant children yourselves, all of us are stuck on your sinking ship. The easiest and quickest way to go back to normal and do what you want, is for everyone to be responsible and stay out of crowds (especially inside), wear masks, and get vaccinated. If anyone is trying to track you, it will be through your phone and facebook, its much easier and offers a lot more information.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Ralph

    Aug 04. 2021

    This decision should be driven by data. If La Porte County moves into the “substantial “ or “serious “ status, then we should follow the CDC guidelines, and require masks in our schools. This measure is the best strategy at present to mitigate the spread of the Delta variant. Keeping people from getting COVID is the top priority here. Yes, masks are a pain; but it’s a small sacrifice to make when it comes to protecting the health of our family, friends, and fellow citizens. A secondary benefit is that it keeps our kids in the classroom, where better learning outcomes occur. This is not an issue of freedom; it’s about a temporary sacrifice we make for the common good. My thoughts.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Carrie

    Aug 04. 2021

    The 12 now 25 people that signed this do not all have children in the schools or live in LaPorte County they are just looking for numbers to attack Mr. Francesconi to get their way. If you want your child to wear a mask go ahead but with the CDC changing every other week and not all the doctors and scientist agreeing what should be done this should be an option for parents to choose not the school. Are they going to stop sports then or make the football players, cheerleaders etc. wear masks

    Reply to this comment
  10. Kylie

    Aug 04. 2021

    I support freedom of choice …. I also support science … The old school science that is not the new science that changes every 5 minutes …. Get sick =build antibodies … GOD GIVEN IMMUNE SYSTEM …. A tale as old as time … I do not support lowering oxygen levels for a full school day … The survivability rate for ALL ages is above 90 percent ….. I do not support the school system making medical choices for my children …. Hypothetically my child has a tragic accident and is on life support I will not be calling the school … The mayor … The governor etc. To make any medical decisions for my child. No no no no …

    Reply to this comment
    • Jibboo

      Aug 22. 2021

      You do understand this is a novel (new) virus that has never been exposed before, correct? Therefore the God given immune system doesn’t have a clue how to protect itself like from the flu. And recalling history, look up the flu pandemic of 1918. It’s fascinating. and now we’re in a similar situation but we have way better science. I’ve had one family member die of this (he was 53 years old) and three other friends parents have died also. The kids have no issues wearing a mask, it’s the adults who are the problem. Speaking of survivor rates, I think 700,000 Americans dead from Covid in 16 months kind of speaks for itself. And hypothetically, if you have a child who does have a tragic accident, you will need to call the school anyhow, because the school needs to know why the child is not accounted for. If you support science, support masking, support vaccinations, support getting us back to normalcy. They teach science in schools, they teach how to be safe in health class, so we should do the right thing and be good parents, grandparents and take care of each other, for each other. This pandemic could be solved much easier if folks didn’t fight so hard about a mask and a vaccine. But here we are with all the fighters and naysayers who are contributing to making this stick around.

      Reply to this comment
  11. My Kids' Rights

    Aug 04. 2021

    I will not force my children to wear a mask. If these parents are so worried about it , why are they sending their child to school, where any one time that they potentially take off their mask their already “exposed”. That is the exact reason why LaPorte implemented to Virtual academy. Please do not subject our kids to long term effects of breathing what should be expelled from their bodies, just as we are giving your children the option to not “catch covid”

    Reply to this comment
    • Rosa

      Aug 04. 2021

      There is no long term effects from wearing a mask

      Reply to this comment
      • Fear

        Aug 04. 2021

        The only thing to fear is fear itself. Stop living in fear of a cold. This is not the first coronavirus to ever exist.

        Also masking children is terrible. It is not good for brains that are still developing. Your immune system is designed to fight off infection.

        Reply to this comment
  12. Bill Proud

    Aug 04. 2021

    I totally agree with the letter. I was very surprised by the schools decision not to mask with what’s happening. We need to do whatever it takes to put this behind us. It makes me think I’m living in Florida or Texas.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Parent

    Aug 04. 2021

    Parents who disagree with the school board’s decision and are concerned about their children’s safety should choose the distance learning option for their child and let that be the end of it.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rose

      Aug 04. 2021

      The virtual option does not have every class or course available to students and are unable then to graduate

      Reply to this comment
  14. Hence

    Aug 04. 2021

    What does humanity want? Successful children or a successful virus? We have that freedom to choose and nothing else. If you drive a car and follow traffic laws, you gave up some freedoms already to be a responsible driver. Just do what needs done and be a responsible human, for the children you gave life to.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Parent

    Aug 04. 2021

    I fully support the decision of superintendent Mr. Francesconi and the school board. It should be up to the parents if their kids wear a mask or not. There are virtual options for parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids to school. Or possibly send them to another school district that does require masks. My child (1st grader) for one is looking forward to returning to in person school after only attending in person for the first month of school last year due to me moving her to virtual because of the masks and her coming home crying everyday and not wanting to go to school. I Have 1 in the high school as well and even though they were supposed to wear masks it was not enforced. Most of the school did not wear them over their face they just had them on their chins/around neck and they did just fine.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rosa

      Aug 04. 2021

      A first grader is unable to get vaccinated. God forbid she gets sick, it is because no one (including her) wore their masks. Those under 12 should wear a mask. Anyone who is under 12 or unvaccinated should wear a mask to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

      Reply to this comment
    • Rosa

      Aug 04. 2021

      Plus, they did just fine because everyone was wearing their masks. If you are concerned about them not wearing it correctly, I would take it up with Francesconi that people should have been enforcing it and telling them how to wear it correctly.

      Reply to this comment
      • Parent

        Aug 06. 2021

        I have 3 in school one in each high school. Kesling and elementary. They pretty much did not wear masks the last 3/4 of the year they just had to have one with them except on the bus they had to wear them.

        Reply to this comment
  16. Keep our Students Safe!

    Aug 04. 2021

    You give up all sorts of freedom to do things that protect others daily: you can’t smoke inside almost anywhere due to the health effects to others; you have to wear shoes and shirt for health reasons to protect others; you have to have your bags checked before you can go into a ball game or concert for the safety of others…somehow in the midst of a terrible virus that has long term effects even after you have “healed” from it, is a large political event. Of course advice is going to change, the CDC and others are looking at data and science. As they learn more and receive more information, their recommendations will Change on what’s best to keep everyone safe. All those saying kids should just move online are also not doing their research. Not all subjects are taught to the online students so they fall further behind. Just like any other public area it’s what is best for all, not just some. The same rules should apply to the public school systems. We all need to work together to safely come out on the other side of this pandemic. Such a simple thing, wearing a mask, can protect so many. Why risk so much over something so easy?

    Reply to this comment
  17. Theseer

    Aug 04. 2021

    The fact that a letter from 12 people makes top story is concerning in and of itself.

    Reply to this comment
    • Citizen

      Aug 04. 2021

      Since the publicization of this story, there have been several additional signatures.

      Reply to this comment
      • Parent

        Aug 09. 2021

        The number of signatures is growing due to a Facebook group rallying people to sign that don’t even have kids in the LaPorte school systems or even live in this state.

        Reply to this comment
        • Citizen

          Aug 09. 2021

          This is a false statement. Signatures have a relation to the state and/or the school system. Check your facts!

          Reply to this comment
  18. Don

    Aug 04. 2021

    I’m very concerned that the school administration may be more interested in playing politics then the actual safety of the children. Something doesn’t add up. How can we trust them if they don’t do everything possible to protect the safety of the students. Are all the teachers and staff required to be vaccinated? What about the kids 12 and under who can’t be vaccinated? Who is protecting them in the school?

    Reply to this comment
    • T

      Aug 04. 2021

      And you don’t think the cdc has anything political tied to it? Give me a break. I seriously doubt the school board or the superintendent has politics in front of safety for kids. The choice of whether or not a student should wear a mask should be up to the discretion of the parents not the school board or superintendent or even the CDC for that matter. If the 12 people that wrote this letter have kids in school and want their children to wear a mask that’s their business and they have that right but for other parents that don’t wish for their children to wear it that should be their choice as well. It’s also funny because I happen to know someone that wrote that letter doesnt even have kids in school so it is quite interesting they’re raising the issue. At some point life has to go on and with us being on the low end of the numbers I see absolutely no reason requiring students of any age to put a mask on unless their parents wish them to. If they don’t then leave it alone.

      Reply to this comment
    • Theseer

      Aug 04. 2021

      Make your own choices for your own family.
      No more mandates.
      Leave our children alone!

      Reply to this comment
    • Citizen

      Aug 04. 2021

      Don, I would have to agree. I personally believe that are some political associates to this decision. We know health guidance did not play a role, as masks would have been required then.

      Reply to this comment
      • T

        Aug 04. 2021

        So is it safe to assume that politics played the deciding factor for masks or not with every other school in the county that didn’t require make with Michigan city being the exception? I don’t think so

        Reply to this comment
  19. Rob

    Aug 04. 2021

    It wouldn’t surprise me if politics had something to do with the administration’s thinking. It colors everything these days. We should say a prayer for the children’s safety. And perhaps for the administration too.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Freedom Fighter

    Aug 04. 2021

    Please, parents who are for the optional masks stand up for your children. This is not a one way fits all solution. Those who believe a solution if you don’t like to wear a mask is to homeschool. Well, for the hard working parent(s) who can’t just work from home that isn’t an option. Do your research, and if another meeting is scheduled go to it and defend your stance. I recommend listening to Steve Deace’s podcast from Monday, August 2nd. He provides data that is useful to defend your beliefs. You just have to stand up for your rights. God Bless this nation as we certainly need it right now.

    Reply to this comment
  21. JoeD

    Aug 05. 2021

    Think of the sacrifices our grandparents and great-grandparents made to survive the Great Depression and World War 2.

    All we’re being asked to do to get out of the pandemic is wear a simple facemask and take a vaccine, yet 40% the country is so selfishly (and quite literally) dead set against it. It is doubtful our country would survive some of the more difficult times from our past, ironically driven by those on the political spectrum who seem to be the most vocal about how “patriotic” they are.

    Sometimes the greater good must take precedence over individual freedoms. It is literally what separates us from the Neanderthals.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Tim

    Aug 05. 2021

    I think a valid argument can be made that the school corporation inadvertently shows their political hand by the use of the word “forced” on the school website. It states that while masks are recommended no one will be “forced” to wear them. The word forced carries a lot of bad connotations. The text would have had to been approved by the superintendent before going live on the brand new school website. If you feel that someone is being “forced” to do something you obviously oppose that action. But why would the school administration oppose it? Science or politics? The science speaks for itself. The politics appears to speak between the lines.

    Reply to this comment
  23. BobC

    Aug 05. 2021

    When common sense goes out the window, fear rules everything.

    If you are healthy and have no comorbidities, your chances of dying from the virus are infinitesimally small. We now have the Delta variant because we forced the virus to evolve to become more transmissible by locking the host (us) away for months on end.

    We would be in a much better position now if we had simply carried on as normal, while protecting our vulnerable people (65+ and/or immuno-compromised), and allowing the rest of us to get our antibodies leveled up to reach herd immunity. You know, what we do every ‘flu season, and what we will eventually HAVE to do with Covid because it is endemic and will keep coming back every year.

    At some point we have to agree on what is an acceptable level of death from Covid, while managing the risks. Sounds harsh, but it’s what we’ve done and continue to do with any other virus or disease.

    Reply to this comment
    • Annie

      Aug 25. 2021

      I totally agree with you. I can’t help but think that the people who are “pro mask” are quite arrogant in their thinking. What gives them the right to dictate to others what “they” believe? I actually think it’s a form of child abuse to make a child wear a mask all day because of a virus that has a survival rate of 99.8% in children (and people in general) but hey, if you as the parent think it’s quite okay, then that’s on you but don’t dictate to another parent what “their” child should do! There are always going to be virus’ around. Just yesterday on the news they were talking about multiple booster shots. Since when does a true vaccine need a booster? Now they THINK the vaccines only last for four to six months. Thankfully, most of the people who responded to this article have common sense. Freedom of choice!

      Reply to this comment
  24. Deb

    Aug 06. 2021

    Dear Citizens. I agree with you 100 %. I have one question. Where can I sign?

    Reply to this comment
  25. Keep our Students Safe!

    Aug 06. 2021

    Follow along to other school districts that already started for the year and who choose to not wear masks and see how many have already had to switch to virtual due to outbreaks. We all want the schools to stay open, the simplest was to do this is to wear masks to slow the spread.

    Reply to this comment

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